theRoyal Tenenbaums

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theRoyal Tenenbaums

Post  Macgabi on Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:47 am

The Royal Tenenbaums Archetypal Analysis

By Gabi Hoole

The royal Tenenbaums is about a family of five who have very promising beginnings but as the children grow up their lives begin to fall apart. Similarly their father who has been estranged from the family for a number of years comes back to live in their home under the false pretence that he has stomach cancer (witch he makes up). Through a series of events the family finds them selves all living under one roof again. Characters of extreme significant are as fallows:
• Children of Royal and Ethylene Tenenbaum – Richie, Chaz, and Margot (adopted).
• Margot’s husband- Rollie Stclair
• Ethylene’s fiancé- Henry Sherman

Character Archetype: Margot Tenenbaum

Margot is one of the children of Ethylene and Royal although unlike her brothers she was adopted. She is extremely secretive about her life but at one point during the film her husband Rollie Stclair higher a privet investigator to examine her life, and her affairs with the suspicion that she had been unfaithful, he is correct in this suspicion. She had been having an affair with long time family friend Eli Cash, this gives her the archetype of unfaithful wife ( a woman who is married to a man she sees as dull or distant and is attracted to a more virile or interesting men). Her husband is a scientist with a rather dull life and she has writers block, she is obviously board in the marriage and seeks excitement with Eli who is not only an award-winning author and western enthusiast but also a drug addict.

Margot is also a temptress (characterized by sensuous beauty, this women is one to whom the protagonist is physically attracted and altimetry leads to his downfall). Her brother Richie is madly in love with her but can’t show it for the obvious reason of their brother and sister status. When she gets married it breaks Richie’s heart and he plays horribly at his very important tennis match with consequently destroys his career as a professional tennis player.

Situational Archetype: Royal Tenenbaum’s fall from grace

The fall is a dissent from a higher to a lower state of being witch involves a defilement and or loss of innocents and bliss; it’s often accompanied by expulsion from a paradise as penalty for a disobedience or moral transgression. Royals fall is very long and starts when he separates from his wife. He was a wealthy litigator until his son sues him and he gets disbarred and imprisoned for a short amount of time. He becomes broke and is kicked out of his hotel (expulsion from paradise). He now has no money and decides to lie to his family telling them he has a fatal illness and moves in with them. And in the final dissent he is kicked out of his home when his family learns the truth and he is forced to get a job as an elevator attendant.

In some ways you could say all the tenenbaum children experience fall of there own. Margot although being parsed as a genius in her youth, is in a horrible marriage and suffers from severe writers block. Chaz an extremity successful businessman has lost his wife and as a result has become depressed and has become obsessively protective of his children. Richie who was once a professional tennis player has thrown his career because of his love for Margot and left his family to wander aimlessly on a cruse boat. When he returns he finds his distance from his sister has not lessened his love for her, and after learning of her several relationships and first marriage to a recording artist in Jamaica he try’s to kill himself.

Symbolic archetypes: Royal Tenenbaum V.S. Henry Sherman

Throughout the film royal Ethylene’s old husband Royal, and Henry Ethylene’s new boo are in constant competition. It could be compared to good V.S. evil with Henry as good and royal as evil. They are two forces constantly in opposition throughout the film. Royal see’s his wife Ethylene as his “women” even know they have been separated for a number of years and he has been unfaith full many times, as has she. He finds Henry threatening to his manhood and thinks he wants it take his position in his house and family, one he has not filled in several years. Henry is helpful and kind to the everyone, he truly loves Ethylene and doesn’t seem to care about her extremely dysfunctional family.


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Royal Tenebaums response

Post  Mattia Thillaye-Kerr on Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:49 am

Another character archetype for Margot Tenebaum would be as a Star-Crossed Lover. She is in love with her brother Richie, and he is in love with her, but they can not be openly together because they are legally siblings (Margot is adopted). Their relationship, if made public, would be met with disapproval by society and friends. Their family would probably think it odd but would not disapprove terribly. Their father knows because Richie told him of his love for Margot.

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Those unhealable wounds

Post  kate.lich on Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:55 pm

Reading through your situational archetype of good and evil, the archetype of the unhealable wound came to mind. This archetype shows up throughout the movie in several different characters. Eli is a wounded soul who carries around his drug addiction. Richie can't get over his love for his sister and that wound has caused him to roam the oceans in his sailboat. Chas is wounded by his wife's death and can't seem to move on to another relationship. Royal is wounded by the marriage split and can't find his way back into the family. There are lots of desperate measures taken. Royal fakes cancer to get back into the family home and Chas is so afraid of his kids' safety that he has them running mock fire drills.


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Post  Mr. C on Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:57 am

Gabi - a good analysis of Jungian archetypes. I have yet to see this film - I have heard it is very funny/entertaining. Good observation about The Fall as a major archetype in the family. It seems to be a trend to show dysfunctional families that are a result of a fall to most or all of the family members. It would be interesting to compare this film to the television program Arrested Development.
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